It's not 'just the flu,' it's a dangerous virus

GREENSBORO, NC -- Three years ago this December Ashley Allen woke up sick. She couldn't talk, she felt terrible but she thought it was only a cold.

Hours later she was in a medical helicopter being transported to UNC Hospitals, it wasn't just a cold, it was the flu.

Allen's heart stopped beating twice, she went through ten procedures, she lost all of her hair and she had to go through therapy to regain basic motor skills. A strain of H1N1 almost killed her, now she wants you to get the flu shot.

"I don’t think people take it seriously as such a deathly experience of what in can turn into. I think a lot of people don’t understand what it can turn into. They think oh it’s just the flu. I’ll sit on the couch a couple of days and I’ll be good," Allen said.

READ: Mom's Powerful Message After 12-Year-Old Daughter Dies From Flu

What's scary: this could happen to anyone. However, it can be prevented. 

"The flu can be widespread; it can be pandemic. You know they talk about some years it being worse than others but it’s ubiquitous," Dr. Katherine Tabori of Cone Health said. "It can be everywhere."

Dr. Tabori said the best way to protect you and your family from the flu is getting the shot. The flu does not respond to antibiotics and is difficult to treat, not to mention the symptoms like chills, fever, body aches and sore throat.

A new vaccine is produced every year to increase effectiveness. It only takes moments to get vaccinated and the average cost of the shot is around $32 depending on your insurance plan.

Tabori said people who do not get vaccinated are rolling the dice with their health and the health of others.

As for Allen, "When the public takes it for granted and just decides not to get [the shot.] They take a chance of going through what I went through. And I wouldn’t wish that on anyone."

Allen says thanks to her husband and daughters, she's okay but not without lifelong health issues. She says the doctors at UNC saved her life. Two other patients were being treated for the virus at the same time and died.

Copyright 2016 WFMY


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